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Revitalize Your Abdominal Workouts

Five workout strategies for overhauling your abdominals.

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Revitalize Your Abdominal Workouts

 UNIQUE LIFTS 

As we stated, most people tend to focus on the same few ab movements workout after workout. The abdominals have a short range of motion, but there is a wide variety of effective exercises for targeting them. Because the following aren’t typical bodybuilding lifts, it’s unlikely that you have tried most, if any, of them. Work one or two into your current routine, or try our regimen of all four in the same session.

BALL CRUNCHES

Exercise balls have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, but because of their “softcore” rep, the typical FLEX reader wants only to hear them pop. The fact is, they’re just another training tool, and they’re especially effective for crunches. If you do a crunch while lying face-up on a ball and keeping your knees bent and feet on the floor, you can make the movement harder by positioning your back/hips lower on the ball, or easier by positioning your back higher on the ball. Such change in resistance can even be done quickly during a set.

BICYCLE CRUNCHES

As with ball crunches, this exercise isn’t unique to women trying to “tone up,” but it is to most male bodybuilders. You should only care that it works. Lie flat on the floor with your legs raised at approximately 45 degrees and your hands behind your head. Bend your left knee and bring it toward your chest while simultaneously crunching and twisting to touch your right elbow to your left knee. Return to the starting position and reverse to the other side. Don’t try to go fast. Instead, focus on maximizing the tension in your abs. This works  the upper and lower rectus abdominis, and the obliques.

JACKKNIFE CRUNCHES

This one also works your upper and lower abs. Lie on your back and simultaneously raise your knees and torso, crunching your abdominals. To add difficulty, keep your legs straight and/or use ankle weights or a dumbbell between your feet.

CABLE SIDE CRUNCHES

Standing with your left side facing a weight stack, hold a D-handle attached to an overhead cable with your left hand and pull it down to ear-level. This is the starting position. Then, while keeping your left arm steady throughout each rep, bend to the left in a short crunch movement, feeling just your left internal and external obliques working. After doing the desired number of reps, repeat on your right side.

Ab training may never be your idea of fun, but it doesn’t have to be tedious. Utilize these five strategies to reinvigorate your midsection workouts. Train your abs with the same attention, variety and intensity you give your arms, and your abs will garner so much attention on stages or beaches you’ll never ignore them again. That is, as long as they’re still not shrouded when you’re shirtless — but that’s another article. - FLEX

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